What is Research: Definition, Methods, Types & Examples

What is a research paper?

A research paper is a common form of academic writing. It is searching about a particular topic and locating the relevant information about it. Research papers require students and academics to conduct research and take a stand on that topic. The research paper will provide the support and right evidence clubbed together in an organized report.

Every scholarly article must undergo a process of peer review before the final submissions. The peer review process is done before publication is accepted in an academic journal. A research paper is also known as a scholarly article that contains the original research or an evaluation of research conducted.

Define Your Research Question

The first and most important step in writing a research paper is defining your research question. What exactly are you looking makes it easier to write about? Be clear about your questions and topics. If your instructor has assigned a specific topic for the research than its well and good. However, if not review the guidelines of the assignment first and then start. The instructor would have mentioned every detail and general subjects which would be preferred. Your research paper should focus on a specific angle on one of these subjects. Before deciding the final draft, explore more and more options and spend your time on research.

Try to choose a research question which is popular yet interests you too. However, Research process is bit time-consuming, your will be motivated to search about a topic you are interested in. A genuine desire to learn more about the topic will arise once you learn more about a topic you like. You should also consider whether you have access to all of the resources. Keep all the necessary points to conduct thorough research on your topic, such as primary and secondary sources.

Create a Research Strategy

Approach the research process systematically by creating a research strategy. Creating a particular plan and strategy and doing your pre planning will save some time for you. Review your library’s website. Get answers of the questions like – What resources are available? Where will you find them? Do any resources require a special process to gain access? Do the important and difficult gathering first. Start gathering resources which may be difficult to access.

A reference librarian can help you with much more details as they are more aware about everything. They are a research superhero. He or she will listen to your research question, offer suggestions for how to focus your research. They will direct you toward valuable sources saving your time and focus on directly related topics.

Evaluate Sources

Now that you’ve gathered a wide array of sources, it’s time to evaluate them. Researching is quite easy but you need to see the reliability of the information. The origin of the information, the origin of the source must be known for better research. Relevancy of the information is as important as the original information. You should know the answer to the questions like – How does this information relate to your research question? Does it support, refute, or add context to your position? How does it relate to the other sources you’ll be using in your paper? By ensuring that you have determined your sources are both reliable and relevant, you can proceed confidently to the writing phase.

Why Write Research Papers?

The research process is one of the most taxing academic tasks you’ll be asked to complete. Luckily, the value of writing a research paper goes beyond that A+ you hope to receive. Here are just some of the benefits of research papers.

Learning Scholarly Conventions: While practicing the research and writing process, you’ll learn how to document your research, cite sources appropriately, format an academic paper, maintain an academic tone, and more. It is kind of a crash course in the stylistic conventions of scholarly writing which will help you in better writing of research journals.

Organizing Information: You will not be happy to see a messed-up data. You must organize your information in such a way that you can narrow it down easily. In a way, research is nothing more than a massive organizational project. The information available to you is near-infinite, and it’s your job to review that information, narrow it down, categorize it, and present it in a clear, relevant format.

Managing Time: Time management is very important in almost everything. You need to submit your research paper on time before the submission date. Research papers put your time management skills to the test. Every step of the research and writing process takes time, you need to complete each task on time and properly. At times we may lack in writing because of our delay which will be a harm to your efficiency. You can maximize your efficiency by creating a research schedule and inserting blocks of “research time” into your calendar as soon as you receive the assignment. You can opt for more management tricks for better results.

Exploring Your Chosen Subject: We couldn’t forget the best part of research papers—learning about something that truly excites you. No matter what topic you choose, you’re bound to come away from the research process with new ideas and countless nuggets of fascinating information. 

The best research papers are the result of unique ideas and genuine interest and a thorough research process.

What does Research Involve?

Research often follows a systematic approach known as a Scientific Method, which is carried out using an hourglass model.

Research project starts with a topic and purpose of research. The first starts with a problem statement, or rather, the research purpose for engaging in the study. This can take the form of the ‘Scope of the study’ or   ‘aims and objective’ of your research topic. Subsequently, a literature review is carried out and a hypothesis is formed. The researcher then creates a research methodology and collects the data. The data is then analyzed using various statistical methods. 

The right research will include the study and its conclusion report. The researcher can suggest some ideas and relevant topics for further researching.  However, keep in mind that research projects are highly dynamic and are therefore considered an iterative process with continued refinements and not a series of fixed stages.

Common Pitfalls of Doing Research

Up till now the research was much easier as it sounds but researchers must also be aware of the difficulties they may encounter during the course of their study. In addition to the characteristics of good research, some of the pitfalls common in the research process that should be considered are – 

  • Underestimating the commitment required by a research study – The process of a research study and getting it published takes a significant amount of time and effort. You must be fully committed towards the research so as to ensure no good information is left behind. Researchers must be prepared for everything such as lengthy data collection and analysis methods. Setbacks are a part of life and same is with research also. Problems like subjects dropping out of the study and article revisions might be a drop back for you.
  • Searching for up-to-date, high-quality references – Staying up-to-date with your research is important as we don’t want to be writing about the past or outdated information. It is not easy for researchers to find related literature or references that are relevant and up to date. This is why it’s important to do a literature review early during the research process.
  • Not limiting variables of data to be collected – Keeping extra never harms any research process. It’s easy to get carried away during the data collection phase and collect as much data as possible. Researchers should ignore irrelevant information in data and focus on beneficiary information to the study.